A recent New Yorker cartoon treated an orchestra maestro who introduced the next piece on the program -- a titanic work from the classics -- by telling his audience, "And it goes something like this." That would be no joke to the conductor of a community orchestra.

Such amateur musicians, who get together for the sheer joy of making music, can seldom produce better than a rough approximation. Though the Jewish Community Center Symphony Orchestra is solidly in this tradition, they seem to have more fun.

Saturday night, before an appreciative audience at the Jewish Community Center in Rockville, Joel Berman valiantly led his troops through Beethoven's "Eroica," Vivaldi's Concerto in D for Four Violins and Richard Strauss's "Suite from Der Rosenkavalier."

The battle was hard-fought -- with the usual glitches of muddy attacks, sour notes and dicey dynamics -- but the ensemble met these challenges with contagious good cheer. Cries of "bravo" at the end of the Strauss--a work with daunting technical demands--did not seem out of order.

The Vivaldi, for which the string section alone took the small, cramped stage, was the most successfully executed piece on the prorgam. The Beethoven and Strauss, which had Berman continually waving off those same irrepressible strings, could have profited from more rigorous rehearsal.